Our "5 Steps to ISO 9001 Certification" is a practical guide to ISO 9001 for small businesses and midsize companies. Our approach is business-oriented and lean; it does not include the many committees, task forces and meetings that consultants and other ISO 9001 products use. Instead, we focus on getting things done - quickly and efficiently.
Please note that these "5 Steps to ISO 9001 Certification" are only a brief summary of our approach. Detailed instructions for each implementation step, as well as all the required materials, are included in the Complete Package.
The first step addresses how to properly prepare the implementation of ISO 9001 at your small or midsize company. It's not a difficult step but it's important and should not be missed.
ISO 9001:2008 is a world-wide accepted standard for quality management systems. As such, ISO 9001:2008 focuses on a large variety of business activities – not merely on quality control! Implementing ISO 9001:2008 will affect virtually all of your business processes.
Note: "ISO 9000", "ISO 9001" and "ISO 9001:2008" are used interchangeably but all refer to the ISO 9001:2008 standard.
The following sources of information will give you the needed understanding of ISO 9001:
Our "Important Startup Documents" (which are included in the Complete Package) contain a good summary and overview of ISO 9001:2008. It's often used to brief top management on ISO 9001 for small businesses and midsize companies.
You may also want to consider taking an introductory online ISO 9001 course.
And in case you don't have a copy of the ISO 9001:2008 standard yet, you will need to obtain one and read it. See More Resources.
First, appoint the “ISO 9001 Management Representative”. This is typically a quality manager or senior manager of your company; it needs to be somebody who has sufficient authority to change operational processes and the way that your company works. This person will be responsible for implementing ISO 9001.
Companies with more than one physical location may appoint a "local" Management Representative for each physical location or for each business unit; a "corporate" Management Representative would then coordinate among the local Management Representatives. This setup will ensure both flexibility and simplicity. Note that our quality assurance manuals and our implementation kit are designed to work for both, companies with a single location and companies with multiple locations.
A “Role Description” for the Management Representative is included in the Complete Package. We wrote these "5 Steps to ISO 9001 Certification" under the assumption that you, the reader, will be the Management Representative.
Next, the Management Representative needs to get some training. A "Training Plan for Management Representatives" is included with our Forms Collection and our Complete Package.
Our Complete Package is designed to provide for on-the-job training; the included materials are excellent training tools, particularly our Implementation Manual (which includes many explanations) and the detailed customization instructions will help you understand the ISO 9001 requirements.
For additional ISO 9001 training through training videos, online courses and books for self-study, please see our section on ISO 9001 Training.
Getting full support from management and employees is crucial for the success of your ISO 9001 quality management system. The earlier you get this support, the better.
First, you will need to ensure that the company executives completely support the ISO 9001 effort. You should explain to them the advantages, requirements and costs.
Next, you should inform all employees. It's important that the employees don't feel threatened by ISO 9001. In our Important Startup Documents (which come with the Complete Package) you'll find a brief "Employee Intro To ISO 9001", as well as an "ISO 9001 Summary", both of which will serve small and midsize businesses well when informing all employees.
Optionally, there are some DVD courses and online courses recommended in our section on ISO 9001 Training.